SEATTLE -- Shin-Soo Choo's migration to designated hitter this season has brought about a new possibility. Choo should get serious consideration from fans when it comes to selecting the American League's starting designated hitter in the All-Star Game.• VOTE: 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot That may be surprising given
SEATTLE -- Shin-Soo Choo's migration to designated hitter this season has brought about a new possibility. Choo should get serious consideration from fans when it comes to selecting the American League's starting designated hitter in the All-Star Game.
• VOTE: 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot
That may be surprising given Choo has never played in an All-Star Game, and it may be difficult for him to nab the starting spot because Shohei Ohtani is listed as the Angels' designated hitter on the ballot.
But Choo deserves a second look. He is not the prototype big slugger often associated with the designated hitter. But among qualifying DHs this season, he led the league with 5.8 runs created per nine innings and was second with an .814 OPS through May 30. Choo's OPS, which combines on-base and slugging percentage, is up there because of his propensity for getting on base. Among AL hitters, Choo's on-base percentage ranks 21st.
"He has been a huge part of the wins we have had lately," manager Jeff Banister said. "We appreciate everything he has done and know exactly the player he is. Across the league, people pay attention to guys like this and greatly appreciate what he can do. In the landscape of a lot home runs, talk about launch angles and things like that, on-base [percentage] is still a huge part of our game. He is one of the better on-base guys in all of baseball."
Choo's .378 career on-base percentage is 10th among active players with at least 3,000 plate appearances, but he is the only one of those 10 who hasn't played in an All-Star Game. He is also the only active player in the top 30 in OPS to have never been selected as an All-Star.
"[Being in the All-Star Game] would be a great moment, everybody wants to play in the All-Star Game," Choo said. "But it is the fans voting, who the fans want in. So I never think about it. I'm focused on every game here. Making the All-Star Game would be great; if not, it's OK."
Fans may cast votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- on computers, tablets and smartphones -- exclusively online using the 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot until Thursday, July 5, at 11:59 p.m. ET. On smartphones and tablets, fans can also access the ballot via the MLB At Bat and MLB Ballpark mobile apps. Each fan can vote up to five times in any 24-hour period, for a maximum of 35 ballots cast.
Following the announcement of this year's All-Star starters, reserves and pitchers, fans should return to MLB.com and cast their 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Final Vote for the final player on each league's roster. Then on Tuesday, July 17, while watching the 2018 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX, fans may visit MLB.com to submit their choices for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet with the 2018 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote.
The 89th Midsummer Classic, at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 180 countries. FOX Deportes will provide Spanish-language coverage in the United States, while ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusXM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information about MLB All-Star Week and to purchase tickets, please visit AllStarGame.com and follow @MLB and @AllStarGame on social media.
The Rangers' injury situation has left their part of the All-Star ballot a bit outdated. Even though Joey Gallo has switched to left field, he is listed at first base because of his Opening Day assignment. Jurickson Profar, who is filling in for Elvis Andrus at shortstop, is on the ballot in left field. Texas is also represented by Robinson Chirinos at catcher, Rougned Odor at second base, Andrus at shortstop, Adrian Beltre at third base, Delino DeShields in center and Nomar Mazara in right.
T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.